Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Furnishing and Decor (Page 1 of 3)

Finally, Painted

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13 months after moving into our house, our living space is finally painted!!!

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Our walls and ceiling were all “white” to begin with, but the old paint reads very yellow in all the rooms and just feels outdated. The Extra White we chose is the true white color in SW. It reads a bit cool but not sterile, and brings a bit of modern feel into this old house.

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All the walls got Sherwin-Williams Extra White in Eggshell, and all the ceilings went for the same color in flat.

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We used Behr Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss on all the trims and doors throughout the main floor. Although both being white, the different sheens made the trims really pop next to the walls.

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The bedroom feels bigger with the crisp white paint:

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We painted inside the closet a lovely pink (Behr Pale Bud). I think it looks great with the bright white trims and soft grey curtains.

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Our walls were textured and it took Slav several weeks to smooth all the walls with joint compound as well as patch nail holes. Needless to say that this process produced lots of dust. It feels so good to have the house dust-free again and all the furniture uncovered.

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The puppies are more than pleased to have their favorite spots back.

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We decided at the last minute to upgrade all the wallplates, light switches, and receptacles. Not only the old ones have yellowed overtime, they were also covered with layers of paint. The screwless ones bring this house to 21 century.

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We replaced the old and dingy air duct covers shortly after we moved in. Now with freshly painted walls and new wall plate, our place feels so so upgraded.

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We used the last bit of wall paint in our kitchen. After removing some upper cabinets, we lived with a cabinet-shape yellow portion of unfinished drywall. A quick layer of white paint got rid of a major eyesore:

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And all the receptacles in the kitchen were upgraded as well:

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It feels so nice to be able to look around and see crisp white everywhere.

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Getting the place painted made a huge difference on how the main floor feels. It is a lot brighter and feels clean. Now it is finally time for flowers and art!

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Next week is our wedding anniversary and it is a big relief to finish painting before the big day. We have several fun activities lined up and I will be sure to come back to report! But first, we kick back in our bright and fresh living space, and enjoy some cut flowers and herb drinks from our own garden. Happy summer!

Relaxation + Refinishing Outdoor Chairs

In modern times, having fun can be tiring too. I have found that the best way for me to unwind is doing nothing – such as walking around in the garden, sipping tea and watching the dogs play. Recently, we’ve spent chilly evenings outside on our back patio. Slav would build a fire, and I would make some tea, then we stare at the flames for a couple hours and simple let our mind go blank. Sometimes we talk, and sometimes we just sit there and be together. It is amazing how quickly the world recedes and the inner peace grows.

Weekday nights with my man.

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After building the back patio last year, we briefly entertained the idea of getting a set of patio furniture for dining and lounging. “Let’s set up a grilling/dining area with sun shades, a fire pit area surrounded by chairs, and lots and lots of planters!” But quickly, we realized – 99 percent of the time, there are just two of us using the patio. Filling the space with furniture for friends and family we wish we could entertain who live one or two time zones away just does not make sense. So we added two seats, a fire pit, a griddle, and left the rest of our 340 sqft of patio empty.

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We were fortunate to find our lounge chairs at Habitat for Humanity for a price of a steal. Although the cushions were worn, the wood frames were timeless and steady. A few IKEA cushions gave the chairs a clean and fresh restart.

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But these chairs were not finished for outdoor use – at least we suspect so. After one summer with strong sun and a harsh winter, the wood finish diminished.

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The surface finish started peeling and small cracks developed along the wood grain.

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I decided to refinish these chairs with oil + poly to protect them from summer sun and winter snow. One sunny Saturday morning, I got to work.

1. Sanding off old finishes

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The cushions were removed and the chairs were moved under shade. I started off sanding all the old finishes off the wood with 80 grit sand paper. I recently invested in a Bosch sander which makes sanding a breeze. For hard-to-reach corners and curves I borrowed Slav’s oscillating sanding tool.

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Sanding with 80-grit paper had an immediate effect. You can see from the picture below the un-sanded surface on the left and sanded surface on the right.

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The wood after cleaning up looked quite nice. Another round of 220-grit sand paper made everything super smooth.

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I wiped everything with a clean, damp microfiber cloth and let the mountain breeze dry everything off. It was a beautiful day to work outside, especially with Roxie by my side.

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Neighbor’s dog Cabby watched through the fence too.

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2. Oiling the chairs up

For repairing the wood I wanted some kind of oil product that penetrates and hardens inside the wood grain. Since I do not know what kind of wood our chairs are made of, I decided to go the safest route and use oil-varnish blends. I had some danish oil leftover from finishing the antique guest bed, which is perfect for this project. Simply rubbing it on generously and let the wood drink, then returning half an hour later for two more coats. I kept the chairs in the shade so everything dries evenly and slowly.

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The chair on the left got one coat of oil and the one on the right had not. It is pretty amazing how much oil the wood drink and immediately you can see the tone of the wood darkened. My girl stuck around:

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After the third coat, I wiped off the excess and let the chairs dry for > 72 hours before the next step.

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The color of the wood was incredibly rich.

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Since the oil was out, I took the opportunity to finish a wooden tray. Roxie finally fell asleep next to me:

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3. Sealing for UV Protection

Generally speaking, we could have started using the chairs after they had dried overnight. But we live in the highlands where UV really takes a toll on outdoor furniture. Therefore, I wanted to coat the chairs with an oil-based sealer. We used the Preserva clear sealer because it penetrates into the wood and reflects UV light. It was recommended to us for harsh environments that cycle between sun and snow. It was originally formulated for the Southern California market, but many CO stores carry them too.

This stain only requires 1-coat application. So after the danish oil dried for 72 hours, I brushed on as much as the wood can absorb and left it dry overnight. We used the clear finish so it did not change the color/tone of the wood.

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4. Spray-on Protection for Cushions

Before we put the chairs back to use, I washed all the outdoor cushion and sprayed on a layer of water-repellent. The IKEA cushion covers are for outdoor use but do get wet when it rains. Roxie loves to nap on these chairs and she brings quite a bit dirt onto the cushions, so having a coat of fabric guard should allow us to hose down the cushions once a while and extend their lives.

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After drying overnight we put everything together and they look gooood.

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After almost a week without our outdoor seating, We are happy to curl up next to fire again Our first night in these newly finished chairs happened to be the one-year anniversary of the closing.moving-in day of our ranch. Happy Anniversary, thePolskiRanch! We had a great time here, and we hope that you are having a great time with us too!

A Living Room Update

I took last week off and spent some quality time with my family. After weeks of stressful work, it was peaceful to be at home. We took advantage of our awesome Epic Local pass and skied Arapahoe basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Vail. It felt so luxurious to wake up and decide which top-notch ski resort we felt like going that day. We are incredibly blessed.

Aside from having fun, we also made good progress in Slav’s office. Lots got installed, and lots got pieced together. By Saturday, we had all of our books on the library shelves, and really cleaned up the office. It is so spacious now! We still need to trim out the built-ins, but with all the books on the wall, our living quarter is now cleaner and calmer than ever.

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The Living Quarter

With the office starts taking shape, we turned our attention to the living room. Our living room was very basic, containing only two recliners, a record storage, and a two-person dining set. Aside from dining, we rarely use this room. Both chairs were pretty much dog beds.

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Our living room has not changed much since we first moved in. To remind you, we started by removing the old carpet and brought in some IKEA furniture.

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Then slowly added plants and hung our collection of cow art. Last December, we added some Christmas decor:

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The room felt cold and empty for we took down the Christmas tree. We really wanted to make the room cozy and inviting, a place to draw us in and spend time together as a family. We decided to do a few upgrades here.

Adding Privacy Blinds

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We hung IKEA curtains in the living room right after we moved in. These curtains are light and airy; we love them. But being light and airy also means semi-transparent and see-through. The notion that our neighbors might be able to tell what we are doing in this room drove us into other rooms that offer more privacy. We have window blinds in the office and the bedroom, and these rooms we went.

To make the living room more private, we decided to add a pair of BUSKTOFFEL blinds from IKEA. It is almost all made of recycled paper but looks like bamboo blinds, which I have a soft spot for.

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I mounted them just below the curtains, so we would not see the steel rail when the curtains are closed. When the blinds are up, they naturally rest right at the window header.

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This is what the blinds look like when they are closed in a sunny day. I’d say that it is very effective blocking light, which will be useful in Summer afternoons. We close both the blinds and curtains at night, and one could no longer see our movement in the house.

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It was sunny and warm the day I mounted the blinds. It was the first day of good weather after a long weekend of snow and wind, the pups decided to take it in by sitting at the only bare spot in the yard, where the snow had melted:

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A More Inviting Layout:

Aside from mounting the blinds, I also tried a different layout. I moved the record storage under the window and the dining sets next to the living room/kitchen wall. We have been slowly accumulating plants in the last a few months and they all could use more natural light. The top of the record storage provides a good spot for just that.

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I’ve been growing gardenia for five years and had not had any success. It would have been ideal to have a south facing window, but we do not have any in this house. 🙁 This west-facing window has to do.

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Bringing in a Sofa

The new layout revealed how pathetic the seating situation is in our house. We are never into big sectionals, but having only two recliners makes the room feel like a dorm, not a home.

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To make things even worse, we moved the recliner on the left into the office…

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One recliner + two dog beds. This screams “lonely dog lady” so loud that I could almost feel the panic. It is finally time for a sofa.

We loved a 3-seat sectional in our NC apartment and all of us (including the dogs) used it a lot. You can almost always find one of us on the chaise. It allows both of us to sit together for a movie, and it worked really well for day napping. Lucky us – during our last trip to IKEA, we came across the DJURSBO sleeper.

This 3-seat sofa with chaise is very similar to our old sofa, just a bit narrower. We like the more grow-up material and the sleek look. It is big enough for both of us, maybe with a dog or two. It can be extended to a daybed, which is perfect for movie nights. It also offers a storage cavity underneath the seat for pillows, blankets and bedding.

It checked all of our requirement, and ever better, it was $300 off! We later learned that this line of sofa has been are discontinued by IKEA. That explains why there were dozens of them in the as-is section (the showroom label is just for cashier’s convenience).

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It is like meeting your soulmate, who is also a cheap date. Tell me you do not fall for it.

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The sofa came into two boxes. Since the sofa and the office library will be the two largest pieces of furniture you see when walking into the front door, we chose the color brown to echo the bookcases.

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Assembling it was surprisingly eaaaasy. It was also flawless despite being stacked in the as-is section.

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It is nice to see the space below the cow art filled, so the living room does not feel so empty. We put chaise next to the window and floor lamp and it makes a lovely spot for reading. I can see a cat napping on the chaise already (still need Slav’s permission for a cat).

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This is what the living room looks like today. Plants are happy for more light, the puppies are happy for more place to lounge, and we are happy for a cozier and more comfortable living quarter.

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What do you think? Do you like it better too? Now we have finished furnishing the room, the next step for the living room is to refinish the hardwood floors on the main floor. It has to be warm enough to open the windows and doors, which means another five months. We are trying to be patient and cannot help but imagining how lovely the living room can be with shining floors and new baseboards!

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